Social Media boosts Modi to PMO, by Shaili Chopra, author of The Big Connect

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I have been saying this all through election season – social media is a necessary condition to winning this election if not a sufficient one. As Modi checks into 7 RCR as the new Prime Minister of the country he remains one politician who has driven his campaign on pillars of social media. From a colossal selfie that floored his fans, riding on a chai-wala ticket lending it to cartoons, comics and satire to mapping nearly 6000 events, Modi was a definite newsmaker on networking websites. He went pin to post, tweet to trolls and secured himself a spot on your timelines.

With his active interest (himself or via his digitally driven team) in new-age technology, Twitter, and Facebook, the chief minister of Gujarat turned into a Pied Piper for the young brigade interested in politics or the political future of the country. This got him a first mover advantage. Several first time young voters took interest and starting following philosophies of leaders. And this has been the most pronounced in the online world. It’s safe to say that before Modi became a PM candidate—he became a social media phenomenon. It wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that if India has seen a record voting turnout, it has had been so with some push from social media that made the idea of voting ‘trendy’ and ‘cool.’

Social Media Landscape In India

HIGHLIGHTS OF MODI’S SO-ME CAMPAIGN

Selfie Moment – A first selfie by a PM candidate powered by the action on twitter with nearly 4000 retweets and as many favouriting it. It was then integrated in a mosaic that resides on Modi’s website – a technologically smart one where people who joined Modi’s selfie drive can spot themselves in there by zoom in. Check it out here:

Narendra Modi Social Media

Personalisation on social media – It was on Holi that Modi sent personalized direct messages to his followers who sent him wishes on the festival. His fans were elated to get messages that had their names on a written message from their leader.

Chai Pe Charcha – A campaign by Modi to capitalize on his common man image and origins as a tea stall over. He conducted conversations at tea joints across India discussing politics, Rahul Gandhi and the development models.

3D rallies – Social media was already powering Modi’s rally push but he added 3D and holograms and used his rallies to multiply coverage across the country – suddenly people could follow his virtual rallies.

Hashtag Wars – Even further back Modi’s campaign managers have to be commended for creating the hashtag #pappu to reflect Rahul Gandhi’s inadequacies and meek speech at the CII in April 2013. Gandhi made it easier for Modi supporters by not being present online.

Memorabilia – Modi did an Barack Obama with stores online, on social media selling Modi mugs, tee shirts, tattoos, garba sticks and more.

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Know more about the impact of social media on politics in The Big Connect by Shaili Chopra: http://bit.ly/1qSPSXm

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The Penguin India Blog

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